New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched the ‘Keep It Clean’ initiative to dissuade people from littering on the subway, which is a primary cause of flooding, fires and extensive delays for the transit system.
The new initiative will see the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) conduct an awareness campaign to inform passengers about the adverse impact of littering.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has also been instructed to increase the penalty for littering in the subway system to $100 from the existing $50.
Cuomo said: “Littering is not only illegal but dangerous and directly causes hundreds of thousands of delays, inconveniencing millions of New Yorkers.
“This initiative will help stop littering-related delays at the source, improving reliability and helping the MTA deliver the subway service that New Yorkers deserve.”
MTA noted that littering significantly disables the subway system’s ability to pump out water and also causes nearly 700 fire-related incidents on the rail tracks.
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Littering accelerates the accumulation of debris on the track, which clogs grated track drains and causes water logging on the track bed, thereby quickening the breakdown of the track plates and railroad ties.
The subway signal equipment and third rail can also be affected by the increase in pooling, which severely impairs the electrical supply and functionality of the transport network.
Additionally, saturated third rail insulators and water-compromised positive cables run the risk of catching fire due to littering.
MTA is currently carrying out an extensive preventative water and trash removal operation between the rail stations.
The authority will seal 4,325 leaks with chemical grouting as part of the initiative, as well as clean street grates and under-the-track drains.
The wide-ranging removal effort has already seen the collection of 2.3 million pounds of trash and debris from the subway system to date.